NEW YORK (AP)—Greg Maddux offered a fine scouting report on the pitcher he faced Friday night.
“He’s got good stuff—a good slider and changeup,” Maddux said. “Sneaky quick.”
Of course, Maddux had seen this guy before.
It was his old teammate, Tom Glavine.
“It was kind of fun,” Maddux said. “But I try to never make it personal. I wasn’t facing him, I was facing the Mets. The only time I was facing Glav was when he had a bat in his hands, or I had a bat in mine.”
The much-anticipated meeting between the Cy Young Award winners fizzled from the start. After a 32-minute rain delay, Glavine was tagged for a solo homer by Sheffield in the first and Maddux allowed five hits in the bottom half of the inning.
“I’ve never seen the ball carry so good at Shea,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “It looked like everybody was using aluminum bats and Titleist golf balls.”
Maddux (4-5) was pulled after five innings and 83 pitches, giving up two runs and seven hits.
“Right at 90 pitches, that’s a complete game for him,” Cox said.
Glavine (5-5) lost to his old team for the second time in a week, leaving after allowing five runs and nine hits in seven innings. He stayed stuck at 247 wins.
“It was a little bit odd,” Glavine said. “We were teammates a long time. I watched him pitch a lot.”
Maddux and Glavine, both 37, pitched together on the Braves from 1993 until last season. They began this game with 523 combined victories, the most for a pair of opposing starters since Aug. 16, 1992, when Nolan Ryan (319) faced Frank Tanana (230), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
John Smoltz, who teamed with Maddux and Glavine to give Atlanta an awesome rotation for so many years, struck out all four batters he faced for his 20th save in 21 chances.
While the crowd of 26,439 saw the Mets lose on the day that pitcher David Cone retired at 40 because of a bad hip, fans at Shea Stadium had a big reason to cheer.
Reliever John Franco pitched for the first time since Sept. 29, 2001, having been sidelined after having ligament-replacement surgery on his left elbow.
The 42-year-old Mets’ team captain got a standing ovation when he jogged in from the bullpen in the eighth inning for his 999th major league appearance. The scoreboard flashed “Welcome Back John Franco” and he responded, working around two singles to throw a scoreless inning.
Franco raised his left arm and waved his hat as he walked off the mound, and the Mets greeted him with hearty high-fives in the dugout.
“It’s something I’ve been waiting for,” Franco said. “A lot of people said I shouldn’t have the surgery, so I’m smiling at them now.”
By then, the Braves’ bats had done enough damage. Atlanta has hit 55 home runs in May, matching the NL record for most in any month set by the New York Giants in July 1947 and tied by the St. Louis Cardinals in April 2000. Baltimore set the overall record of 58 in May 1987.
Glavine gave up two homers in 3 1-3 innings while losing at Atlanta last Saturday, and the Braves got going again early on Sheffield’s 14th shot.
Franco connected in the second for his first homer since last Aug. 19, DeRosa homered in the third and Jones did it in the sixth.
“The balls were very hard,” Maddux said. “I noticed they felt harder.”
Pinch-hitter Marcus Giles had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Maddux and Glavine both take pride in their hitting, and were eager to face each other at the plate. Neither did much with the bat, with Maddux going 0-for-2 and Glavine putting down a sacrifice bunt and later fouling off asqueeze attempt before striking out.
The last time a pair of NL pitchers started against each other with more wins than Maddux and Glavine was on May 3, 1985, when Steve Carlton (313) faced Ryan (233). … Maddux beat the Mets for the 30th time, his highest win total against an opponent. … Maddux has been 0-2 in his previous five starts. … Giles has not started since being hit by a pitch above the left elbow Tuesday. … Rafael Furcal went 0-for-5. The Atlanta leadoff man had reached base in 36 straight games. … Franco became the second-oldest pitcher in Mets’history. Warren Spahn was 44 in 1965.